By Kristina Pritchett
Inside The Point Restaurant & Bar, Sidney Bowen of Dana Point tunes her white acoustic guitar, checks the sound of the microphone and makes sure everything for Open Mic Night is ready to go. She’s been hosting the Tuesday night event for three years, she knows the regulars and welcomes the newcomers.
“It’s a close-knit community,” Sidney said. “It’s a really cool vibe, and I love seeing who comes in to perform and hearing their songs.”
Sidney Bowen, 17, has been performing since she was 5 years old, but says she remembers singing before then. The Open Mic Night is just one place she gets to perform—she’s performed at the Orange County Fair in years prior, and will take the stage there again this summer.
Along with the local performances, Sidney has gone on tour across the nation. She currently has an EP out and music available on iTunes. She does live video streams on Facebook and has some videos on YouTube.
“It’s really cool when people know your songs,” Sidney said.
She said her first song that was placed on iTunes was put into a Brazilian soap opera, and that’s when she started meeting her fans.
“I got a lot of positive feedback from those listeners, and it gave me the courage and the validation to put out an EP,” she said.
The EP has seven songs, all of which Sidney says represent her and her new style. Her new music will continue to show her life experiences, and the music is a little broader.
“It’s still very close to me, and it still sounds like me. It’s all the same root, but I reached out a little bit with style,” Sidney said. “It’s a little different, but I’m excited to share it when it comes out.”
Before she hits the stage, Sidney always has her sound check. She said the audience doesn’t usually make her nervous, but she does get nervous when she notices a member of the audience who is really listening to her words.
“It just makes me want to make sure I’m performing it at my best,” Sidney said. “I want to make sure they like it.”
On Tuesday night, she sang a couple of her original pieces including “Elephant” and “Shy.” Just off to the side, Sidney’s mom Danielle adjusted the volume for the mic.
“She’s here every week. It feels weird when she’s not here,” Sidney said, watching her mom as she listened to other performers.
Bowen said she loves watching her daughter be able to live her dreams, although she worries about her being in the spotlight at a young age.
“She’s most at home on the stage,” Bowen said. “It’s a little scary she’s in the public eye, but her dreams are becoming a reality.”
Sidney’s music style is singer-songwriter and is inspired by artists such as Ingrid Michaelson, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. She uses her life experiences to get inspiration, and she says all her of her songs are personal.
“I don’t have a favorite song because they’re all so personal,” Sidney said. “But, I really enjoy performing ‘Shy.’ I get really into it, and it’s a boppy song. It’s super fun.”
As she performed the original piece Tuesday, the crowd watched and smiled.
This summer, Sidney will continue to write and perform. She says she’s about to start writing with some big names for her next album, but isn’t sure when it will be released.
For now, she will continue performing locally and online.
You can see her perform at the Open Mic Nights at The Point Restaurant & Bar every Tuesday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and at the Orange County Fair on Aug. 6.